In today’s flooded internet rap scene chances are you’ll need more than raw talent to cut through, get noticed and build a loyal fanbase. You’ll likely need an undying passion, a consistent work ethic, and discipline in your craft. 21-year-old rapper DJ-V has all those attributes in spades. The California native has been through a lot and done a lot and has used it as nothing but fuel to reek havoc through his Maniac mixtape/EP series which has reached the fifth installment in Maniac 5: Renegade. I got a chance to chat with DJ-V about his influences, his growth as an artist and his future plans/upcoming projects.
What inspired you to start rapping and who are your biggest musical influences?
DJ-V: Well, to be honest, I took so much gravitational force towards the craft because of all the videos I used to see on MTV2, ya know the ones that are like late at night or early in the fucking morning. They inspired me because I always wanted to be on that screen crushing shit and I wanted to be the best. My biggest influence has to be Eminem as far as aggression and anger goes. He really pushed me to be something better
Yeah, it seemed like that’s when they showed the best videos at those late night/early times.
So “DJ-V” where did that name come from?
DJ-V: Well, the part “Dj” is a childhood nickname my mother gave to me. Even though I’m older, I still wanna carry that name with me. The part “V” came from an old assignment in an English class I had. I had to create a quote out of one letter that explained my journey. I put “Victory Through Vengeance.” People thought it was fucking stupid but the teacher thought it was pretty interesting. I made that quote to explain that the only way I’ll get victory in anything I do is the aggressive vengeance I put into anything I do. The hard work is Vengeance. Everything that pushes me further is a form of vengeance. That’s real.
That explains a lot of your work. Through listening to it a lot of it is about overcoming obstacles and proving haters and doubters wrong etc. I relate to that a lot. So what trials made you develop that stance? And is that the main goal to show and prove your doubters wrong and your supporters right so to speak?
DJ-V: Well, multiple trials developed me into this monster from living in my father’s house to damn near being homeless in new york or just the decay of friends and family I see every day. So many people are so negative and will settle for less. Fuck all that. Yes, that is the main fucking goal every day. No, if’s, and’s, or buts
DJ-V: Well, I’m not rapping on shitty mics anymore, so I don’t sound ass. I rap more about my life than just random metaphors and nonsense. I feel like I just grew tremendously period.
I can definitely see the growth. People underestimate content/substance when it comes rapping, metaphors and rhyme patterns are nice but who cares if you’re not really saying anything right?
DJ-V: Well, some do most don’t. I need people to know I got a fucking brain and that I use it
Exactly, another theme in your music is horror, and I know Eminem was a big influence when it comes to this but what else influenced you to have that style ?
DJ-V: Two words… Quentin. Tarantino. He is the fucking GOAT. His film style actually inspired my creativity when it comes to making songs
If there’s a Tarantino film you’d recommend a newbie like me which would it be?
DJ-V: I would recommend “Reservoir Dogs”. Absolute classic.
You’ve built a fan base basically through your Maniac Mix-tape series?Are there plans to make an album soon or is now just about continuing to build a bigger fan base?
DJ-V: Well I’m working on building a bigger fanbase, to be honest.
Is there ever a challenge to balance being lyrical and creating songs that people will want to bang in the car and find catchy?
DJ-V: Yes, it’s a real fucking challenge to come between those lines because people want so much and I gotta stretch the borders more ya know.
Lastly What’s up next for DJ-V? New music? Live shows? Etc?
Well, I’m working on my newest project “THE MAD, MAD, MANIAC, ” and I just released a brand new song from the project called “BASEMENT” which tells a small portion of the journey. I’ve released a video to one of my songs called “SICK SAUCE.” As far as live shows go, I’m still trying to get my feet wet with that. It’s a lot I have to do you know. I’m just taking every step as I go you know.